University of Texas
Origins and Early Days of
Applied Research Laboratories/Defense Research Laboratories
by Chester M. McKinney,
October 24, 1995



Chester M. McKinney

4 October 1995
Origins and Early Days of ARL/DRL
Chester M. McKinney
My talk is not intended to be a rigorous historical account of the origin and early days of ARL based on careful research, but instead is an anecdotal account of my memories and as such is subject to errors of commission and omission. In 1946, after military semce, I entered the University of Texas Graduate School and in October of that year I joined the staff of Defense Research Laboratories, as a part-time student employee in the Radar Division. DRL bad been in existence for about one year, and I was issued badge No. 97. Little did I realize thac my association with DRL would last for nearly half a cenrury.

Around the beginning of WWll the U.S. Government established a number of civilian laboratories to conduct research and development for the military. One of these was the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) under the direction of Professor Ted Hunt. Hunt recruited Charles P.aul Boner to be one of his Associate Directors. At that time Boner was Professor of Physics at The Universily of Texas and was becoming well known for his research in the fields of architectural acoustics, noise control, and musical acoustics. Boner took with him to Cambridge a number of his students including Richard Lane, Wilson Nolle, Charles Rutherford, Frank Seay, Reuben Wallace, and others. At the end of WWII, the Harvard lab was closed; the sonar work, which had been directed by Boner. was transferred co the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory at New London, Connecticut, while the acoustic homing torpedo work was taken by Eric Walker, the other Associate Director, to Penn State University, to become the Ordnance Research Laboratory, which later was renamed Penn State Applied Resean:h laboratory.

Another of the wartime labs was the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns.Hopkins University, which became famous for its development of the proximity fuse. One of the APLJJHU staff members was Dr. M. J. Thompson, then Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Texas.

Before proceeding with the threads of these stories. l will jump back to 1942. Not all of the UT scientists and engineers left the campus for other labs. The Physics Department obtained in 1942 an Army Air Force contract to work on improving the accuracy of flexible airborne fire control systems. This group was called the War Research Laborlllory and was housed in the Physics building and the Chemical Engineering building. The major wartime effort of WRL was the development of the Texas Tester. which evaluated full size complete fire control systems for B-29 super bombers. They made important contributions in this area and also in the calculations of exterior ballistics. I will note that this group was second (after MIT) to use a tape controlled milling machine to make the precise cams used in the Texas Tester. After the end of hostilities, the name was changed to Military Physics Research Laboratory and the group moved to the site of the Wartime Magnesium Plant. later to be named the Off-Campus Research Center, a little later the Balcones Research Center (a name suggested by Jim Han. the first Chancellor of UT), and more recently the J. J. Pickle Research Campus. MPRL continued to work with the Texas Tester and exterior ballistics for some years. It was the first group in Austin to use large mainframe IBM computers. ln time, the program decreased in size and in 1964, at their request, they merged with DRL. Thus one can make a point that we should have celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 1992 instead of 1995.

At the end of WWII, the Bureau of Ordnance of the Navy decided to launch a major program to develop supersonic surface-to-air missiles. The technical direction of the program was assigned to APL/JHU, but several industrial companies and other universities were to be associate contractors. Dr. M. J. Thompson was returning to Austin to be Chairman of the Aeronautical Engineering Department, and it is my belief that Thompson should get the major credit for bringing part of this missile program to the University of Texas.

About this same time, Dr. Boner was returning to the University and he was interested in continuing in applied research and development for the U.S. Navy. In brief, because of his seniority and WWII experience in directing such work, Boner was appointed Director of this new lab, which he named Defense Research Laboratory. Thompson was appointed Associate Director on a part-time basis. The lab was established in the fall of 1945 with Bureau of Ordnance Contract NORD-9195.

At the beginning, or at least in the formative phase, Boner made several important policy and operational decisions which have had lasting effects, and I would like to mention them.

First, DRL should not be a part of an academic school or department, but should be an autonomous department of the University, with its director reporting to the President of the University. He felt that multiple scientific and engineering disciplines would be needed to effectively and efficiently solve major system problems for the Navy, and that this would be difficult if the lab was a part of a single department. I suspect that if Thompson had been made Director, the lab would have been in the School of Engineering, probably in the Aeronautical Engineering Dcpartment.

Second, being a University activity. the lab should take full advantage of available faculty members and students, both graduate and undergraduate. l note that at that time and for some years a full-time faculty member could work an extra quarter time for a place like DRL and thus significantly supplement his/her income. The University made good use of this arrangement in recruiting new faculty. Equally important, Boner felt that it was essential to have full-time research staff members in both senior and junior positions. He believed that one could not accomplish the systems development required by the Navy using only part-time faculty and students. Some other labs learned this lesson the hard way.

Third, although Boner did not personally solicit additional work in other fields for DRL, I believe that he encouraged his senior staff to do so. Certainly, he did not discourage them. Initially, this was not a relevant policy, but later it led to DRL becoming a multi-sponsor, multi-contract, multi-project laboratory with a broad program. I doubt that we would be celebrating our 50th anniversary if this had nor been the policy.

The fourth decision relates to space and failities. Boner wanted to be close to the campus to make it easier to employ faculty and students. FoTtUnately, a couple of old buildings and some land were available on what were then the fringes of the campus and that was where DRL staned operation in 1945. The brick main building had staned. out as Texas Wesleyan College, a small Me1hodist school Later the University acquired the propeny and at various times used it as an athletic dorm. a student COOP house, and during wwa to house Navy V-12 students. At sometime a two story frame house was added between 1he brick building and Texas Memorial Museum. Clearly these building were not prime space for classrooms and were not very arrracrive. but they were on the campus building. and served with most the of our addition needs of for 22 plywood years. hms, Frank Quonset McBee is hms. and responsible a metal for erecting barracks a ( sign near the entrance bearing a quotation from Parkinson that all significant work is done in makeshift quaners. I will note that lhe initial lab was fined out witl1 office fumiwre and equipmem, machine tools, electronic instruments, and much more, all from military surplus. I suspect 1ha1 most of the desks and chairs and some of the machine tools still in u...e were made during WWII.

A fifth policy was that DRL would have the facilities and technical staff to conduct engineering dcsi!,'11 and fabrication of mechanical and electronic equipment. This arrangement significantly reduced development time and costs, and allowed for considerable nexibility. Having an intramural engineering and fabrications capability was very useful to the more basic -rescarc.h projecLS that, on their own, were not large enough to suppon such capabilities.

Today, these policies may not seem very 1musm1I, but in 1945 they did not exist. They had to be established.

DRL began operation in 1945 with a staff composed of full-time employees and a large number of faculty on a pan-time basis. Dr. Boner brought with him from Harvard a number of people, including Hcnricua Jacobsen (his Administrative Assistant), Jens Jacobsen (business manager and later Assistant Director), Frank Seay, Charles Rutherford, Walter Kuehne, Claude Horton, Bob Watson, and others. The last two also were Assistant Professors in the UT Physics Depanment. Some of the early full-time recruits included OJ. (Obie) Baltzer (who was to head the r.idar work), and Al Davis.

The initial DRL R&D program under the Bumblebee Missile program consisted of three projects: Aeromechanics, Radar Guidance. and Fuels. The fuels project was a small one and lasted only a very few years. I would like to discuss the other rwo projects in some detail because they had a larger and longer impact on the future of DRL.

The Aeromechanics program was headed by M. J. ll1ompson. The major effort was on designing and building a blow-down wind tunnel and designing and fabricating a number of supersonic nozzles. Initially, this facility was on the DRL grounds, but after a few years it was moved to the "Balcones Re_c;earch Center. The Aeromechanics group made some impormnt contributions to supersonic aerodynamics, including a very useful skin­friction balance. invemcd and developed by John Weiler. Also, the program provided financial suppon and facilities for a significant number of graduate srudenrs. Over the years the size of this program declined a.nd in 1965 only about 5% of the work was in Aeromcchanics. Eventually, the wind tunnel facility was transferred to the Aerospace Eni,-ineering Department and by 1967 the project was no more. So. thjs program did not really lead to other work at DRL.

By contmst the Radar program has a much longer and. larger thread with more individual fibers. Obie Balrzer, head of the program at DRL. invemed a semi-active interferometric hommg system. which, in competition with other concepts:was selected for development. 1l1is work was very successful and lasced for many years.
In the meantime, Obie and his staff were getting involved with other projects with different sponsors. For exan1ple, after the first atomic bombs were exploded. the military, knowing that Russia would eventually develop similar bombs. was anxious to develop techniques for remotely decccting nuclear explosions. As it turned out, Dr. Boner was asked to chair an Air Force commiltee to decermine possible techniques and to make recommendations for development. In brief, the Radar Division ofDRL received a contract to develop insm1memation to detect the ELF electromagnetic pulses generated by above ground nuclear explosions. This progam was very successful and included operating several prototype monitoring scations in foreign counrries. Loyd Hampton. later to be a director of ARL, operated such a station for several months in the early phases of the program. After the syscem became operational. the monitoring stations were operated by other personnel and the need for fu:rther rcsean:h and development decreased significantly. However, a small level of e(fort did continue at DRL/ARL. until about 1972, essentially in the form of Bob Troehta as a consultant to the Air Force. However, the technology developed at ORL was well exploited by a spin-off company from DRL (Tcxtran, later Tracor).

Yet another fiber in the Radar Division thread was the field of radar countermeasures, namely in the development and testing of chaff dispensers for aircraft and missiles. This was a successful project and lasted for seveml years. Again, Lhe technology devclopcd and the experience gained was exploited by the same spin-off company.

The most imponant other fiber in the radar thread had its beginning in 1957 after the Soviets l:iunched Sputnik L A couple of scientists at APLJJHU were monitoring and tracking Sputnik. and they conceived the concept of using the Doppler shifted signals received to detennine the position of the receiver on Eimh. provided one knew precisely the orbit of tl1e sacelliie and the time. Thus was born the U.S. Navy Transit Navigation System. DRL, being already associated with APL/JHU, was invited to participate in the development of 1his system, specifically by operating a developmental tracking station at DRL. Later DRL established and operated a cracking station on a year·round schedule at McMurdo Sound, Arnarclica. This operation was closed down only a few year.; ago. fn addition to operating rracking stations, the DRL staff was involved in basic research on ionospheric propagation in order to correct for cenain propagation effects. Initially !his work was sponsored by lhe Navy and later by the Defense Mapping Agency. With the developmem of the newer and more capable Global Positioning System (GPS) lhe Transit work at ARL was phased down and shifted to work related to GPS. At present. this is a major program al ARL and has led to other related work. ARL also continues to use the existing Transit satellites to conduct basic research on ionospheric propagation needed in geodesy. Dr. Arnold Tucker (now Associate Director) was involved in this satellite navigation program from the beginning and he still leads the work.

Thi;: missile guidance aspect of the radar program came to an end some years ago, in pan due to the completion of the development work and in pan due to the depanure from DRL of a number of lhe key R&D staff members. Later them was a resurgence of work on airborne and missile radar in the area of target cross section measurements. However, I believe that it is accurate ro say that this thread of work no longer exists at ARL.

Now l will turn my aucntion to the Acoustics program at ARL. Shonly after lhc Stan of the lab, Richard Lane, who had been at Harvard and RCA, returned to Austin and joined DRL as a member of the Radar Division. I believe that from the time he joined DRL, Richard had in mind to get the lab involved in acoustics. And Tam convinced that without Richard the lab would not have gotten into acoustics and there probably would not be an ARL:UT mday. Boner and Lane had good personal reputations with cenain people in the Navy who managed progmms in underwater acoustics. Speci.fically, Nelson Es1es. a former student of Boner and a friend of Lane, headed the acoustics mine development at the Na val Ordnance Laboratory. Richard convinced Estes 1ha1 he should place a contr.:tei wilh DRL to provide assistance to NOL in mine development. This came to pass in 1949 and the first work was a hodge-podge of small projects, almost anylhing that would get a foot-in-the-door to underwater acoustics research. Richard quickly recruited a number of young graduate and undergraduate students on a part·time ba.sis. These included George Thurston {now Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UT), George Wood, Ken Hannah, Reuben Wallace, Ray Hurd, Loyd Hampron. and many 01hers. To make a long story not quite so long, from this unlikely stan, the program grew rapidly in size due to good work by the staff and in no small pan to Richard's salesman.ship. In a shon Lime DRL had a major technical responsibility for developing a new and unique acoustic mine mechanism and became recognized. as the authority in that field. The acoustic mine mechanism program (including CAPTOR) continued at DRL/ARL for several decades. l should note that the work on e.lec1JOChemical log detectors (lnrer called solions) (which had benefited from the contributions of Norman Hackerman. larer President of UT Austin and Rice). wa.􀂂 continued for several years by a spin-off company (Tracor) with suppon from Union Carbide.. In itself. the acoustic mine program did not lead directly to many other programs. One exception is hydroacoustics filters. The work on small filrers for mine mechanisms led to a contract with the Bureau of Ships to develop filters for use on submarines to reduce pumping noise. The initial design for this application was done by a young graduate student named Dave Gavenda, now Professor of Physics at UT. DRL built a large, full scale test facility and 1he program continued for many years, much of 1he time under the leadership of Jerry Kahlbau.

1n 1950. the head of the Sonar Branch in the Navy Bureau of Ships was Captain Jack It so happens thar during WWII Jack Myers, then at a much lower rank. was involved in resting new sonars being developed for the Navy, and he became close friends with Boner and Lane and he had great respect for both of them. So it was only logical that in I 950 he was receptive to the idea of DRL doing work for the Sonar Branch.

One of 1he first two contract tasks related to binaural listening. Lloyd Jeffress, Professor of Psychology at UT, had published a paper on the improvement in signal-to-noise ratio due to binaural listening by humans. A Bureau of Ships staff member had-read the paper and asked DRL to determine if the technique could be applied to actve sonars where rhe masking background was reverberation rather than noise. This was the beginning of Lloyd's long association with DRL. The work that he and his graduace students did on ths initial task did 1to1 lead to any improvements in active sonar. but it did allow him to launch an excellent basic research program in psychoacoustics that the Navy was willing to sponsor for abour 20 ye11rs. 'llte funding was $50,000 per year, which at 1ha1 time would suppon severnl 1,.,-adua1e students and huy a lot of equipmenL A large number of students received support for their doctoral degrees and moved on to faculty positions all over the U.S. The psychoacoustics work :u ARL came to an end with Lloyd's retirement in l 971.

Also in 1950 the Bureau of Ships had a growing interest in developing sonar equipment to detect Naval mines in the ocean. One of their specific concerns was how to detect such mines thm were buried in lhe sand and mud sediments on the noor of the ocean. So a small (again S50.000 per year) task was assigned lo DRL lo investigate the acoustics propenics of w:m:r saturated sands. Dr. Wilson Nolle, now a Professor of Physics at UT, planned the progr.rm and provided all of the theoretical work, while the experimental work, done in a labornlory tank, was carried out by several !,'Tadilllle students, including Joe Mifsud, Walter Runyan, and others. This program continued for several years and excellent fundamental work was accomplished and documented in the unclassified literature. In time we switched the program to investigating the scatt.ering of high frequency sound from rhe ocean floor. This early work, led by Charlie Anderson, was successful and was well received by the underwater sound community. This type of basic and useful research has continued at ARL since that rime, being done by a variety of people with funding from a variety of sources. At present, it is an active. although small. program at ARL

During an early of the Korean War, a planned amphibious landing by the U.S. Navy was brought to an abrupt halt, when two mines sweepers were sunk by North Korean mines. The resulL was a greatly increased interest in mine countermeasures that lasted for at least two decades. In 1951, the Committee on Unde.rsea Warfare. National Research Council, with financial suppon from the Navy. organized a summer study to be held at the Navy Elecrronics Lab in San Diego. with the goal being to examine in detail the use of high resolurion sonar to find mines. More than to0 scientists and engineers participated in the study that lasted about two months. Richard Lane learned of the planned study and persuaded the Bureau of Ships to ndd sufficient funds to its contract with DRL to pay the salaries and expense_􀃺 of sever.ti staff members to participate. The DRL group, led by George Wood, included Reuben Wallace, Mark Mechler, Jess Stanbrough. and Claude Honan (for part of the time). The participation ofDRL in this 1951 summer study was to have a major and long lasting impact on the future of the lab. Among other things. the DRL group modified an existing WWII continuous transmis􀄡;on FM sonar for high frequency openuinn and acwally conducted some testS in San Diego Harbor before the end of the study. Most summer studlc.s produce thick reporL􀄽. bu.t I am not aware of any other study that designed. built. and tested real hardware.

FolJowing the study, Richard and George persuaded the Bureau of Ships to provide funds for building a floating test stmion on Lake Travis, which would be used to conduct R&D on minehuruing sonar and to provide funds for a major program at DRL. That must have been quite a sdlingjob! The test station was designed primarily by Marcel Gres and his group of mechanical engineers, while lhe cons1ruction was managed by Frank McBee. This was a major projec1 and yet cons1ruction was far enough along that we could begin doing experiments in 1he summer of 1952. The research equipment was primarily the modified CTFM sonar lha.1 lhc DRL group had worked on during the previous summer study. Since 1952, a great deal of 1he underwa1er acoustics work at DRL has depended on the Lake Travis Test Sration facilities. Further, for a number of years, much of our minehunting sonar work was done with CTFM because that was lhe equipment we had.

The origin of much of 1he furure underwater acoustics work at DRUARL can be traced back to this rninehunting sonar program. However first ii is conveniear if I digress and relate how I gol involved in acoustics al DRL.

The initial DRL con1ract included specified funds for supporting basic research and under Ibis program I did 1he research for my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, 1he first under the supervision of Bob Watson and the la11er under Claude Bonon. T believe lhat T was lhe first gmduate s1udent for each. In 1950, having recevied my Ph.D., I was in need of summer employment before s1arting to teach at Texas Tech in Sep1ember, and Richard Lane offered me a job on his recently acquired acoustics contract. Thus, by definition, I became an acoustician. I remrned to Austin and DRL for the following two summers and on 1 February 1953, I came back on a full-time basis and remained here for the rest of my career.

Before continuing with this fiber of the ihread, 1 need to move laterally in time. During the 1951 summer study, the DRL group devised a scheme for recording on magnetic lllpe the complete sonar dam from a CTFM sonar. in a fonn tha1 allowed easy playback in 1he lab. Mark Mechler built the equipment, using a home i:ype tape recorder. It so happens, 1ha1 in 1953. 1he Navy was planning to make side-by-side tests of two new minehuming sonars. one being a CTFM sonar and the other a pulse set, in the Gulf of MCJtico adjacent to the (!hen) USN Mine Coumem1easures Station ar Panama Cii:y, Florida. These at-sea 1ests were to run for several months. DR L was tasked to record data from the sonars. Hampton did much of lhe at-sen recording of dat:i. Af1er the tests were completed Richard Lane gm ptrmission from 1he Navy for DRL to do a laboratory reeons1ruction of the at-sea tests :1.nd analyze the data. Richard invi1edLloyd Jeffress to do the work with his psychology grndurue students, who were well ve..-scd in the statisi-ical treatmenr of dara. So Lloyd eniered 1he field of minehunting and remained there for abou1 15 years, making a host of imponam contributions. including a manual on minehunting that is still used by the fleet. After the dma were analyzed, repons were quickly prepared and sent to the Navy sponsors. In fact, theDRL reports were published before the reports of the actual at-sea tests. Then:sults were impressive and this work did a great deal ro esiablish the reputation of DRL in the field of minehunting sonar. It also gave us a foot-in-the-door for working with the fleet.

The success of these early sonar recording and analysis efforts led to DRL being taSked to record the evalunrions of a number of other ruinebunting sonars. This led to n program to evaluate and trnin fleet sonar operators and to the development and production of sonar trainers. Later, underONR sponsorship. the program led to the development of a theory for statistical minehunting ;md to a series of at-sea tests to develop new operational techniques. This program included development of precise navigation systems and remotely controlled vehicles for mine destruction.

We soon realized that if we were to advise the Navy on how to build effective minhuming sonars. we needed to have a sciemific and engineering basis for choosing the best parameters for such equipment. The necessary data were not available, so we undertook to measure such things as the target strengths of mines and bottom
reverberation, varying certain key parameters, such as resolution and frequency over as wide a range as our resean:h equipment allowed.

The program evolved rapidly and expanded to included basic research on echo structure for a wide range of simple and complex targets; scaucring of sound by the ocean floor. transducers; be.amfom1ing and scanning; signal processing; and target classification. This work led in tum to the developmem of sonars for small boats. for manned smaU submersibles, for remotely opera1ed submersibles, for divers. and for the detection of sneak swimmers. DRL was heavily involved in at-sea evaluation of new sonars, and in working with our Allies. Later lhe program emphasized the improvement and modernization of fleet equipment. In a short DRL became lhe primary technical consuham to 1he Bureau of Ships on minehunting sonars. The high resolution, high [requency sonar work continues at ARL, under the direction of Dr. John Huckabay. I have already mentioned some of the early Slaff members. Throughout most of my career, Reuben Wallace (later an Associate Director) was my very able deputy and he made many lasting contributions. Garland Barnard joined 1he group in 1956 and immediately became a dynamic force in 1hc work. For most of the history of the program. he was involved in all aspects of the work. ranging from basic research, to equipmem developmeni, to trials at­sca. to helping (he Navy in times of crisis and war. He too became an Associate Director.

One of our best basic research programs also came from the minehuncing sonar work in 1968. Dr. Tom Muir was seeking techniques to increase the angular or cross­range resolution of our classification sonars. Muir's work led him to work on nonlinear acoustics, specifically the non-Unear pammetric array. Muir and his associates did a great deal of excellent work. leading to some classic publications. The lab is still active in the field of nonlinear acoustics.

The rninehunting sonar program led indirectly to a number of other projects. Through the effons of Loyd Hnmp1on and Reuben Wallace, NA VSEA gave us a task to conduct exploratory development in the area of target classification for ASW sonar. The sponsor, Carey Smith, urged the lab to lease a large mainframe computer and agreed to undcrwrire the expense. lltis compmer became the backbone faciUty for much of !he future work at the lab. Establishing the computer center was done largely by Hampton, George lnilis, and Glen Ellis. The ASW Target Classification program was very successful and led to the development of an amornatic (computer aided) system of the type that would la1er be called an Expert Sys1em, a subset of artificial intelligence. This progr.u:n is still active.

Lndirecily, all of this led to ARL getting into 1he passive sonar fielcl Loyd Hamp1on persuaded Roy Gaul to allow ARL to participate in a major program to collect at­sc;i da1a in suppon of the Navy's low frequency passive sonar system. Under the leadership or Glen Ellis, this program was successful and expanded.. It is still an imponan1 part of the currem ARL program. This program at ARL would not have been feasible without the computer center.

Our reputarion of being a good underwa1er acoustics laboratory led directly to us receiving a fairly large commet in the field of coumer-coumermeasures for acoustic homing torpedoes. This progmm ran for al least a couple of decades. under the supervision first of Mark Mechler and later Jerry Kahlbau. Among 01her things, it included the building of a homing torpedo simulator at Lake Tmvis Test Station.

A good example of a very tiny but successful projecl growing into a major program is the lab's work in trnnsduccr calibration technology. Claude Honon, mentioned earlier, must have been a charter member of the DRL staff since his badge is number 14. Until his full relirement several years ago, he made many contriburions to DRI.JARL in at least lhree different ways. Firs1 was his own personal sciemific and technical work. Second, he was wiUing to serve as 1hesis supervisor for !he large number of DRL employees who were working on advanced degrees in physics. And, finally. when we were in need of theoretical help (which was often). we could always turn to Oaudc and not once did he let us down. On one occasion, an ONR staff officer asked if DRL could devise a iechnique for calibrating u·ansducers in tanks that were not much larger than the transducers. T took the problem to Claude. About two days larcr he returned with a three page memo outlining the measuremem to be made with a small probe and how to use these to calculate the farfield radiation pattern and source level \Ve quickly got a tiny contract to demonsrnue the technique., using full size Navy transducers. lo a short time. George Innis put together the necessary equipment and proved that 1he very simple concept provided adequate precision and accuracy. After Innis left DRL, Dudley Baker took over the project. Horton said that he g01 more mileage out of his 1hree page memo rhan anything he had ever wrinen. From this small project DRL fairly quickly became the lead technology agent for the Naval Sea System Command for the developmem of transducer calibration and testing facilities a1 shipyards and some labs. Out of 1his large program, DRL obtained some valuable facilities including a 1es1 barge at L TIS for large trnnsducers, the large wooden tank on the ARL grounds, as well as extensive modern instrumentation. The original work later led to projects involving electronic array scanning switches, stable and reliable power supplies, and basic work on the nonlinear par.uneoic receiving array. There were at least two spin­off companies from this group, including National Instruments.

Richard Lane. until he left DRL in the mid-fifties to start a company called Texas Research Associate.s (later to be called Tracor). was constantly searching for additional acoustics work :incl in "selling" the accomplishments and capabilities of DRL to the acoustics community. lie also established some policies that had important and lasting impact on the lab. He insisted on prompt publications of work done. He required that virtually all professional and ,1uden1 staff members join professional societies, primarily the Acousticall Society of America, anend meetings, present papers, publish papers. and participate in the nmning of the organizations. Richard was a brash and bold young man. In 1953. when we had been working in acoustics only a very few years, he had the audacity to invite the Acoustical Socie1y to hold irs 1954 fall meeting in Ausri.n. Further. he invited ONR to hold the fall meeting of the Symposium on Unde.rwater Acoustics at DRL. For the latter, this was the first time that such a meeting was held at other than a Navy lab. Both of these events served to get a lot of good publicity for DRL and the impact was greaL Since that time, the Acoustical Society regularly holds a meeting in Austin every ten years. Richard also was responsible for DRL pe.rsonnel serving on advisory commiuces to the Navy nnd on summer studies. For example, Gus Winenborn participated in Project Nobskn in 1956 nnd Lloyd Jeffress and I panicipated in Project Monte in 1957, and there were many others.

In 1965, Boner retired as director, having reached the mandatory retirement age for administrators. Initially, in 1945, he served as a full-time director. however, it was inevitable that he would be drawn into UT administration. In 1949 he became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, first panttime and later full-time. 1n fairly short order, he became Dean of the Universiry (probably the only person to hold that title), and finally Vice-President of the University of Texas System, which at thru time was, in effect, the Chief Executive Officer of the Austin Campus. In 1953 Boner recruited Harold Krick, a retired Navy Captain, to serve as Assistant Director for Administration. Krick played an imponam role at the lab for the next 14 years. especially in regard to the new building.

By the mid-sixties, our program had expanded to the point that we were in dire need of additional space and our campus grounds were already packed with Quonset huts. President Nom1nn Hackcnnnn was sympathetic to our needs and. skipping over a few intem1ediate steps. he recommended to the Board of Regents, that the University erect a building for DRL at the Balcones Research Center, with the cost of construction to be recovered from conm1c1s over a 15 year period. This came about and we occupied our new quarters in September 1967. I considcnhat to mark the beginning of a new era for A RL. Actually. I believe that the University was less interested in giving us a new building than it was in reclaiming the nearly three acres of prime building sites thnt we occupied with our shacks. However, there was another important factor. Hackennan, wit.h considerable foresight, predicted increasing criticism by students and faculty of universities being involved in militury research. He desired to have such work concentrated in one non­academic department nnd be located off the main campus. All of this came about. We were thrilled to get the new bullding and additional space. regardless of the motivation.

Throughout its history, the management and staff of ARL have believed that our type of tub was unique in the sense thm it was different from military R&D centers. industry. and academic depanments. We felt that we filled a useful niche and were not in competition with uny of the groups just mentioned. The fact that ARL has survived. even thrived. for more thnn fifty years. is due not only to the dedicated work of its employees but also to the help, suppon, and sympathetic understanding of the sponsors and the University of Texas. I believe there has been one change in attitude at ARL that roay not be readily evident. During the frrst two decades ma.ny of the employees. especially the R&D staff, viewed DRL ns nn excellent pince to work while getting an undergraduate or graduate degree or to get a few years of valuable experience. but was not a place for a career. I believe thm is not the present mtitude of employees.

ARL has come a long way during the past 50 years from its modest beginning with a small, comparJtively young, and largely inexperienced staff working in unsightly quarters. The lab steudily has grown, not only in size and funding, but in quality of work and in reputation. I had a lot of fun during my days here and am proud to have been a member of the ARL famiJy.

DRL and ARL Photo and Document Album

Charles P. Boner, first directory of Defense Research Laboratory
Defense Research Laboratories
Defense Research Laboratory
Defense Research Laboratory Missile Guidance Group (Radar Division)
Back L to R: Groves, White, technician, Otto J. "Obie" Baltzer, division head, Walter Kuehne. physicist, Warren Hicks, technician, Clay Johnson, mechanical engineer
Front L to R: Chester McKinney, physics graduate student, Tom Stevens, electronic technician, Frank Seay, physicist, Charles R. Rutherford, physicist, George Brooks, stock room clerk.

DRL, Staff Photo, 1947
Third row?, ?, Claude Horton, ?, C. P. Boner (tie and glasses), ?, ?, ?, Walter Kuehne, Robert B. Watson, ? ....

DRL, Staff Photo, 1967
Front Row: ?, ?, ? , ?, ?, ?, ?, C. P. Boner , Chester McKinney, Captain Harold Krick

DRL, Staff Photo, 1967

DRL Early Machine Shop Staff, identifications needed.

Otto Baltzer and scretary


^Back to Top^